Sunday, May 31, 2009

food @ the heart of friendship

This week saw the consolidation of an international friendship. I first met Robert and Mabel about 18 months ago cruising the Nile. We were part of a small group where other friendships were also made, and were allocated the same table for breakfast, lunch and dinner on those eight days of travel.

Holiday conversations at that table, discussed not only the historic sites we had explored each day, and the culture and mythology of ancient and modern Egypts, but also centred around the food of our hearts and the culinary delights from our home towns (they are originally from Argentina and now live in LA; I was born bred and live in Sydney).

While I have had the good fortune to catch up with some of the others I met on that trip to Egypt, on a later holiday overseas, I was truly delighted to be able to recently entertain Robert and Mabel in my hometown Sydney, and to showcase Australian food at its best. Their initiation to Sydney and Australia was by our Australian culinary dignatory Luke Mangan at Glass. Each of us delighted in the dinner we had ordered, and we sampled the flavours of each others plates. That dinner holds a special place in my memory because of a generous gift which is also one of the personal highlights of a lifetime enjoying food. I digress but I should now share the gift he sent to the table with you: a coddled egg in the shell, topped with maple syrup cream, garnished with some roe and crowned with gold leaf (magnifique!)

Together I've shared with Robert and Mabel a range of Australian food and wine, including a number of restaurants and their tasting menus, culminating in the tasting menu at one of our Aussie and Sydney treasures: Tetsuyas.

With hand on heart, I have been not only pleased to be part of this journey with them, but proud to say that they take back to LA a view of Australians as generous, and, of Australian cuisine as well crafted, innovative, diverse and delicious. I'm looking forward to exploring through them the food of their home LA and of their original homeland Argentina, as I've promised to reciprocate and visit with them sometime soon. But, no matter what now eventuates, we have at the heart of it, what will be an ongoing friendship based on the sharing of food. And, as they leave tonight, this post is my gift to them.

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